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Why are Women Still Dependent on Men?

By HERWriter
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Women need men. Society and culture has been telling us for the longest time. A fairly new concept is that women can be independent, but there seems to be conflicting views. The idea of dependence versus independence can cause internal conflict, according to Colette Dowling's book, ''The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence."

Dowling suggests in her novel that women who worked are especially affected by this dependency especially during the 80s and in previous years.

Psychological effects of this dependency and conflict are lack of self esteem, lack of confidence, anxiety and inability to function in the work place according to Dowling. She talks about how girls are not weaned as soon as boys are from dependent behaviors and are treated differently (seen as more fragile).

Although some aspects of Dowling’s discussion may have changed in this new era, there are many remnants today. For example, society tells us still that women should want to be in relationships because healthy relationships are essential for happiness and women will regret being alone. Not all of this is a conscious message, but in many cases it is implied.

There is also the push to be feminine, to work in feminine jobs, to have children and start a family and to be a housewife. There is the idea that both the husband and wife should share roles, but the man should still be more in charge of earning money and the woman’s main role is with the house and family.

Look at magazines, books, movies and TV. What do they say? “Learn to please your man” or “how to get a man” are popular articles in magazines. There are also books, like “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” by Lori Gottlieb. Look at movies and books like the Twilight series, where the relationship depends solely on what the man wants and the woman is left as an empty shell and always fearful of abandonment.

There are even blogs and articles devoted to how women’s dependence on men still exists today. Not surprisingly, the two I found are written by men. This isn’t to say that all women are afraid of admitting dependence or talking about it, as Dowling certainly wasn’t but some don’t even see it as an issue.

Regardless, one article by Nick Neave, an evolutionary psychologist, brings up relevant points. He explains that women are biologically made to be dependent on men which explains why women want a socially dominant man and are so afraid of being abandoned and will do almost anything to retain even a cheating significant other. Even more interesting, he points out that women don’t really need this mindset anymore.

This is not relevant to all women, but I think most women have at least dealt with these issues at some point in their lives. The main point of concern now is changing our way of thinking if you want to be fully independent. There is some evidence of women’s change in a study from Australia, which says that age, education, feminist attitudes and the level of focus on a career can decrease the amount of emotional dependence women have on men.

There also needs to be a focus on increasing women’s wages and opportunities for higher-paying and full-time jobs. Women with children seem to be more dependent. For example, if they have to take time off work or work a part-time job instead of a full-time job in order to take care of their children, there is always the issue of dependency on men if they are in a relationship. Many women will rely on the man for help instead of keeping the full-time job and using daycare or other options.


Add a Comment23 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

In my experience, it's been mostly other women who've penalized me for preferring casual encounters and serious polyamorous relationships to the monogamy we're told we have to have. It's also been mainly other women who've judged me for not wanting children and for choosing to be sterilized. It seems girls are the worst for bullying other girls who do not conform to the correct fashion trends in schools, too. We all need to remember that different lifestyles work for different people.

Oh, and I think we need to be realistic about expecting employers to pay 1 years maternity leave as well as the wages for cover staff. If you choose to have kids and take a lot of time out, it's not fair on your employer to fill the gap of an experienced employee, and pay maternity, and let you work weird shifts when you get back, and let you disappear every time your kid gets sick. It's also not fair on your colleagues with no children, or older kids, who have to pick up the slack. I mean, a lady in my office was paid for 6 years full time work, and had 3 of those off for maternity, and frequently left early without telling anyone. And she constantly brought the babies in to work without warning and caused a lot of disruption.

I mean, obviously several employers are pretty selfish, but so are some mothers. If I take 3 years out of work I wouldn't expect to be paid for it. Consideration from both sides would be nice.

June 23, 2010 - 3:38am
EmpowHER Guest

"Dowling suggests in her novel that women who worked are especially affected by this dependency especially during the 80s and in previous years."

So if a woman worked, then in the 80s (and previous years) she was likely especially affected by this dependency? As it is stated, that is what the sentence means, which I would bet is not what was originally intended.

Maybe a man was needed to edit. >.>

May 25, 2010 - 8:39am
EmpowHER Guest

I completely understand what the author is of this article is saying but being a single woman, I find that there are always women that also do not need men. I mean, if you think about it, women can now lead a full and normal life without men. We can be born (only with a minor contribution), raised, go to school, get a job, get pregnant (again minor contribution), raise children, get old and die with only a minor contribution to the male gender.

But the author is correct: How to make a relationship work is all over every newspaper stand with the target audience being female. What is that about? I function completely fine being single but on the other hand a new roommate of mine (also female) cannot function without one and is completely depressed if she is not being chased down by the opposite sex.

I guess is all depends on the individual!

May 15, 2010 - 8:37am
EmpowHER Guest

Women need men, men need women. Get over yourself and stop feeling so hard done by.....

May 15, 2010 - 7:19am
EmpowHER Guest

This is retarded, I mean... women still dependent of men? I mean, there are lesbians in nowadays.
This is stupid, go to college instead of reading this kind of shitty books.

April 27, 2010 - 2:51pm
EmpowHER Guest

You can't blame biology for the subordination of women in this country. There are places throughout the world where women are not dependent on men; therefore the claim that women are inherently dependent is misleading and not proven. It is a part of our cultural construction and not our biology.

April 20, 2010 - 8:14am
EmpowHER Guest

Let's not confuse dependence with interdependence. I wouldn't be the same without my husband, nor would he be the same without me. We function better together.

In any case there are plenty of articles in mens' magazines on how to attract, understand, and please women. Men are often urged to settle down and marry just as women are, and for good reason. Humans were not made to live alone, and the article of this author seems to be missing that crucial bit of information.

April 5, 2010 - 5:06pm
EmpowHER Guest

You essentially wrote a shitty summary of The Beauty Myth. Congratulations.

March 25, 2010 - 10:31pm
EmpowHER Guest

A woman's obsession to break from the so called "trend" and take the position that belongs to the men in their lives is nothing more than psychologically incorrect. Women are psychologically designed to function a certain way - as were men. It is this mental, emotional and physical wiring in both genders that is the reason for man's place of support for the woman and thereby the woman's dependence on his providing. Any other order of the sexes is unnatural and quite honestly - wrong.

March 21, 2010 - 6:04pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Anonymous)

I'm sure you know this already, but: It's not actually our psychology, or biology, that decides the *social* positions of sexes; it's the regional culture. Further, it's 'socially' incorrect, not 'psychologically' incorrect. It is a widely practiced convention that men in heterosexual relationships fill the role of physical labor, as they are often predisposed to have more muscle mass, and a larger skeletal frame, but the so called "wiring" of the genders is the result of experiences derived from the cultural ethos.
Also, the social "wiring" does not result in a *certain* design for any gender, rather the designs are actually quite diverse, which is why we humans have so many different cultures and sub-cultures.

March 24, 2010 - 5:19pm
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